Joint Commission Resources recently published an article in EC News on strategies to prevent mold in the health care environment.

The article, “Putting a Hold on Mold,” explains the dangers of mold in the health care environment and details several routine maintenance activities to help combat the issue.

The article states that "Routine maintenance activities can help reduce mold levels in buildings or high-risk areas. These include installing high-efficiency filters, making sure those filters are properly installed and maintained, ensuring that room pressurization is correct, and keeping doors and windows closed.”

The article, however, does not define the term “high-efficiency.” Advocacy leaders within the American Society for Health Care Engineering encourage health care facilities professionals to adhere to ASNI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2017 Ventilation of Health Care Facilities in regard to air filter requirements.

The standard already requires a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) 14 filter for most areas, particularly within patient areas at a hospital or outpatient facility. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are also sometimes referred to as a high-efficiency filter. However, HEPA filters are tested and classified using a different standard than a MERV 14 and are typically only required in a protective environment, such as a bone marrow transplant unit. In most cases, a well maintained MERV 14 filter coupled with the correct air exchange requirements will produce the necessary environment.

Health care facilities professionals can refer to ASNI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2017 for more information on ventilation requirements.